Fast ferry competitors join forces to get €4.5 million tender

Competitors Virtu Ferries and Gozo Fast Ferry have joined forces to service the fast ferry route to Gozo with a newly formed company that is the only applicant for the government’s €4.5 million tender.

The request for tenders, published last month, received just one submission from Gozo Highspeed Limited, a company registered on 2 February, just before the submission deadline.

The two companies had been operating together since June 2023 under the brand name Gozo Highspeed, eight months before a company with the same name was officially registered.

Justifying the merger, the operators said the service was not economically feasible and needed government intervention and subsidies.

In response to a question by opposition MP Chris Said, the minister tabled the tender request document for “the provision of temporary services of a scheduled fast ferry between Malta and Gozo.”

It calls for the six-month tender to be awarded to “one operator due to technical and logistical reasons”.

Tender submissions closed last week, and the single bid is being evaluated.

In October 2022, the government announced a two-year public service contract for the operators for €12 million – on the same day operators announced a reduction in daily trips.

The Labour Party had first pledged a fast ferry service as part of its 2013 electoral manifesto. The service was designed to ‘alleviate the hardship of Gozitans’ who must travel to Malta daily.

The service was launched eight years later in a U-turn decision, which dropped government requirements for the service to be fulfilled by a singular, exclusive operator.

The decision was made following years of legal battles, which saw tendering processes cancelled three times.

                           

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Simon Camilleri
Simon Camilleri
1 month ago

‘…needed government intervention and subsidies…’

Ah the PL love this. It translates as ‘needs at least 10 times more people than necessary, from the trough or friends of the pigs, pretending to be ’employees’ who will receive at least 10 times the normal wage for their position paid for by the taxpayer.’ I guess a lot of brown envelopes will be exchanged soon.

Joseph
Joseph
1 month ago

So till now they got 16.5 million? No wonder there were so many hiccups in the first tender and Virtue fought tooth and nail

James Wightman
James Wightman
1 month ago

I do hope part of the contract stipulates that they must allow the carriage of pedelecs and efootscooters in a secure protected area. Especially now rentals have been banned. You can’t hire one at either end. So you MUST take your own.

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